Theories with Preferred Frames vs Solutions with Preferred Frames

If by that you mean what I think you mean that your claim holds regardless of human limitations, that’s a pretty tall claim. How do you justify it?

How did you come to that conclusion, if I may ask? I’m curious because that seems like a pretty strong statement, more than is warranted by the evidence.

I come to that conclusion by studying the nature of evidence.

As best I can tell, all evidence is dependent upon human pragmatic conventions.

If by that you mean empirical and logical conventions, I think I would agree. If so, I’m still not clear on how that justifies your claims?

I began an earlier comment with “I have become convinced …”. I was expressing an opinion. I was not making a claim.

Yes you did. But you made some pretty strong statements which, in my opinion, warrant some sort of explanation. What’s the purpose of making such statements if no reason is provided as to why you are convinced of those statements? I don’t see how that contributes anything of substance to the discussion.

Your mistake.

Welcome to the human race.

People express opinions all the time. Sometimes they are trying to persuade others – that can reasonably be called a claim. At other times, they are simply making it clear that there is dissent and they have no expectation of persuading others. That’s not a claim.

Perhaps you are unable to tell the difference. That must make ordinary conversation quite difficult.

OK. I’m just assuming, I think justifiably, that if someone makes a comment on a discussion thread like this they are usually doing more than just expressing an opinion.

However, if that really was your sole intention I do apologize. Just as an aside, considering the context, I would suggest in the future you make a point of clarifying your intentions.

By the way, this is the definition I got from a search results for a claim: state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.

It’s taken as a “preferred” frame conventionally for practical purposes when solving cosmology equations, because some calculations are easier done in that frame, i.e. it’s just a mathematical trick to make computations easier. There is nothing that we know of that philosophically makes the CMB frame actually “preferred” in a real metaphysical sense, or absolute in any sense.

Taking the CMB as a “preferred” frame in cosmology to simplify our calculations is the same act as using the frame at rest with a moving ball because it makes our calculations easier. I cannot in good conscience attach philosophical meaning to mathematical tricks that we do to make our calculations easier.

There are theories with absolute frames, and theories without absolute frames. In theories without absolute frames, the very notion of “true values of time and space” does not even make sense, so we cannot measure these inexistent values no matter how good our measurement is.

In Einstein’s theory of general relativity, for example, the question of “what is our true time and position right now?” has no meaning and it is as meaningless as if you ask me the question: “what do you get when you multiply fish with the color green?”


Everyone knows that one, 42


I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying here. I believe absolute space is the metaphysical issue which, as far as I can tell, is a metaphysical possibility. The CMB would simply be evidence to support such a reality.

And if I’m not mistaken, the fact that “preferred” frames have to be resorted to in all theories in order to make applicable calculations that make any sense in the real world, including those assuming relativity, also seems to be an indication that absolute space may very well be an objective part of reality.

Yes, I understand that human limitations prevent us from knowing the “true values.” Even Newton acknowledged the inability to know the “true values”. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist or “have no meaning.”

Einstein concluded that based on verificationism. But that’s no longer accepted as a rational philosophical position. So what I’m trying to understand, in light of that, is why that conclusion is still being held to? Is there some other way that it has been shown to be justified other than based on the now defunct principle of verificationism?

Absolute space is NOT a metaphysical issue, but a physics issue! To wit, there are theories with absolute space that produces different predictions to e.g. special relativity. I personally, and many other physicists have been searching for these signatures for years, but have not found any yet.

Preferred frames do not have to be resorted to in order to “make applicable calculations that make any sense”, they are just easier to work with. I can make cosmological calculations in the non-CMB frame, for example. Also note again that preferred frame and absolute frames are different, and a priori completely disconnected from each other.

Again, the problem is not human limitations.


I would contest this. The nature of space and time is both a metaphysical issue and a physics issue. Even if the question, e.g. of whether there is absolute space or time was unanswerable by science, there could still be philosophical implications which would bring it under that domain of inquiry.

For comparison, the situation is similar with quantum mechanics: interpretations of QM are a physics issue, but also a metaphysics issue. Science can’t be fully divorced from philosophy.


Yes, I agree. @PdotdQ I think it may be my mistake for not recognizing the distinction that it’s both a physical and a metaphysical question. Sorry if that caused some confusion.

Sure, I’ll agree to this. As you say, science can’t be fully divorced from philosophy. Indeed, I will go a tad stronger and say that science cannot be divorced from philosophy at all.

The questions of absolute spacetime is both a physics and metaphysics issue. What I tried to emphasize to @Jim is that it is not purely metaphysics. There is a physics component to that question and one cannot ignore what physics has to say on that front.


Would you say that observation and experimentation are philosophical?

With this I’m not so sure what you’re saying. Are you saying that absolute space cannot be a purely metaphysical issue separate and apart from a physical absolute space?

Yes, any scientist doing observation or experimentation has their philosophy convolved with their observation. For example, I have philosophical non-scientific assumptions, such as my choice of logic system, or that the scientific method is a valid way of knowing the Universe, that I need to conduct my observation.

I am not sure what you are trying to ask. It seems like a loaded question.

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Oh. Like the underlying assumptions that have to be made in order to do science?

It may well be. :slight_smile: I guess the question I’m asking is can one consider metaphysical absolute space possible regardless of whether or not there is a physical absolute space? That seems to be Newton’s view, from what I can tell.

This question is too vague for me to answer.

No, that is not Newton’s view. Newton’s view is that the Universe has an absolute space. He made no distinction between “physical” or “metaphysical” absolute space. In fact, I have never heard of anyone but you who makes this distinction.

We can run physics experiments to see if the laws of physics are different in different frames. As of yet, the laws of physics don’t change between frames. For example, what is the measured speed of light on Earth or on a spaceship speeding away from Earth? If the speed of light is the same in both frames, then either of those frames can be used as a reference frame.

It might be helpful to think back to the days where the luminiferous ether was considered a real thing. It was thought that the Earth was moving through this ether, and the ether established an absolute frame. Therefore, light going in the direction of Earth’s orbit would be slower than light going in the opposite direction. However, this was not observed. The speed of light is the same in all non-accelerating reference frames.